USA destroyer sails close to contested island in South China Sea

Lucy Bush
March 25, 2018

It said two Chinese Navy ships "took immediate action to identify and verify the USA ship, and warned and dispelled it".

"All operations are designed in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows", U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cdr.

"This is a serious political and military provocation to China and the Chinese military is firmly objecting to this", said Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang. The spokesperson of US Pacific Fleet, Lt Cmdr Nicole Schwegman also said that the US would continue to do the same in the future as well.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it had shadowed a Chinese aircraft carrier group traversing the Taiwan Strait in a southwesterly direction - meaning into the disputed South China Sea - in what Taiwan judged to be a drill.

China dispatched military vessels to the area and warned the U.S. ship to leave.

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"The provocative behavior by the US side will only cause the Chinese military to further strengthen building up defense abilities in all areas".

China may react with more force in the future to what it considers United States military "provocations" in the South China Sea, a Hong Kong-based scholar said Saturday after Beijing responded strongly to a USA warship's move on Friday.

The Navy carries out FONOPs around the world to challenge excessive maritime claims made by countries, but the operations directed at claims made by China draw the most attention.

The ministry claimed that by carrying out these so-called infringements, the United States had "damaged the atmosphere of military-to-military relations between the two countries, caused close encounters by air and naval forces, which could easily trigger miscalculation or even accidents at sea or in air".

In related news, the Chinese Navy said, via the military's official newspaper, on Friday that it is preparing to carry out combat drills in the South China Sea. The exercises were described as a routine part of the PLA Navy's annual plan to "test and improve the troops' training level and comprehensively enhance the capability to win".

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The drills do "not target any particular country", the report added.

The operation carried out by the USS Mustin will likely draw attention to its timing because it comes a day after the Trump administration proposed $60 billion in trade tariffs on China.

For many years the South China Sea has been considered an worldwide flashpoint, as the United States and China attempt to assert their influence in the region.

This story was first published on, "US destroyer sails close to contested island in South China Sea".

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